Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Orchids: Beautiful symmetry

Prismacolor colored pencils on Stonehenge paper
3.5" x 4" (2x actual size of bloom)

I have an obsession with symmetry, especially radial symmetry, in nature. (Click here for some of my other posts on that subject.) So, while orchids, arranged along their graceful stem, make a lovely artistic composition, I like to examine their beautiful symmetrical structure. When my friend gave me this planter as a gift recently, I immediately said, "I'll have to draw these!"

I spent quite a while looking at online photos of the thousands of types of orchids; some of them are truly spectacular. This one (as close as I could tell) is a miniature hybrid phalaenopsis sogo gotris. As you can see in the photos, it's smaller than the other one in the pot; which I plan to draw as well.

The petals looked creamy to me in the light at my drawing table, but  they look a bit more green in these photos; I might have to go back in and green them up a bit.

Orchid blooms look an awful lot like faces, don't they? Now, if I can just keep these little beauties alive...!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Summertime = S'mores!

"S'more, Deconstructed."
Prismacolor colored pencils on Stonehenge paper
(click to enlarge)

I don't care what the calendar says, once I've made this purchase at the grocery store, it's summer.

Nostalgic and gooey delicious, s'mores evoke memories of camping, backyard barbeques and family vacations. Seriously, I'll take a freshly made s'more over most desserts I've ever had.

My freshly toasted (in the kitchen) marshmallow models
This was a fun project. I started on black paper, but my marshmallow (drawn as seen from the top flat side - a bad idea) looked like a big overworked blotch and I decided to start again on white paper.

I've started drawing on Stonehenge paper and really love it—it'll take so many layers! I'd tried it a long time ago, and didn't care for it for some reason that I've long since forgottten, so I've stuck with my Strathmore Bristol for ages (and I have quite a supply of it, so I can't convert completely just yet!).

I played around with this a bit in Photoshop, and created this livelier layout and a square format that would fit nicely on a card. Which do you like best?

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

A strawberry for a warm day

Prismacolor colored pencil on Stonehenge paper
(click to enlarge)

My red family of pencils is getting a workout lately. Maybe it's this almost-100 degree weather that has me thinking warm tones. (Wait, shouldn't I be drawing something like ice-blue flowers to cool off?)

Last summer, I bought these lovely strawberries from a street vendor in London. Rounder than the ones grown here in California; they reminded me of wild strawberries. Aren't they beautiful?

I've long admired the beautiful work of botanical artist Ann Swan, and whenever I think of drawing a strawberry, I can't stop thinking about her beautiful examples such as this one.  She's so much better at rendering the leafy bracts at the top, and the seeds—or "pips"—on my "model" weren't terribly prominent, but this is my homage to the talents of Ann Swan.

Oh, And here are a few work-in-progress shots:

preliminary sketch, ready for the light box tracing

The final burnishing is so much fun. I've been using Prismacolor's harder Verithin pencils for that step. Now, I think I'll go sit out in the shade and enjoy some of the leftover strawberries that didn't get to be models!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

An apple a day...

"Gala apple"
Prismacolor colored pencil on Stonehenge paper
(click to enlarge)

No, I'm not starting a new challenge of drawing an apple a day (although I'd like to do some more varieties); it's just that the last two days produced the two parts of this drawing.

I used Stonehenge paper for a change, and tried to practice restraint and not lay on each layer too thickly. So, whether it's the paper or the way I worked, I am happy with these.

I took a few WIP shots early on, but the got carried away and forgot to take more:

Monday, May 5, 2014

Nostalgic Necco Wafers

Several years ago, my sister and I saw a painting of Necco wafers at the California State Fair in Sacramento, and my sister still regrets not buying it. I've since seen this fabulous one by Abby Ryan, but I don't think she painted the one we saw because her piece is quite small.

Anyway, I've wanted to do a little drawing of them ever since. I like drawing candy, although I'm a novice compared to the likes of Paula Pertile, a colored pencil artist who does delicious work. I've always been a huge fan of Wayne Thiebaud's fabulous confection pieces as well. So, this sketch is my humble nod to those marvelous candies of our youth, Necco wafers. Which color did you like best? For me, it's the brown ones—and there are only one or two in each roll!